Oklahoma tornado relief effort as it happened

Key Points

  • A massive tornado ripped through Oklahoma City's suburbs on Monday, flattening neighbourhoods with winds of up to 200mph
  • Officials say at least 24 people died, nine of them children - an elementary school with no safe room was among the worst-hit buildings
  • President Obama declared the incident a major disaster, saying the full scale of human and economic loss would not be known for some time
  • Three local hospitals treated some 237 people, including nearly 70 children - most of whom were discharged by Tuesday afternoon
  • Thunderstorms slowed Tuesday's rescue effort, but 100 people were pulled from the debris alive, officials say
  • All times BST (Eastern Daily Time +5)

Join the discussion

Comment here

The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published.
Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

Terms and conditions


    Welcome to the BBC's live coverage of the aftermath of a huge tornado in the US state of Oklahoma, which has left at least 91 people dead and dozens injured.


    We will bring you the latest on the rescue efforts from our reporters at the scene, as well as photos, tweets and eyewitness accounts from around the web.


    There are scenes of devastation in Moore, on the outskirts of Oklahoma, with whole neighbourhoods flattened by the storm.

    Ry'Lee Meek in Moore, Oklahoma

    says: I was at work when the tornado struck. My dad had to call me and told me to get home right away. I had to go get my brother - who is 14 - from school in the evening. They shut down the whole city and it took three hours to pick him up. The city is pretty much destroyed. One of my friend's mothers was killed. My cousin is a school teacher at one of the elementary schools that got destroyed and she made it out.

    Journalist for @Coloradoan and @USAToday, Trevor Hughes in Oklahoma

    tweets: Authorities have shut off interstate access to Moore, Oklahoma following Monday's tornado.

    0808: John Hart Oklahoma Storm Prediction Centre

    said the tornado was "one of the strongest ever seen". A "tornado of this magnitude... they're extremely rare, but people who have never experienced one just can't imagine the strength of the winds," he told the BBC's Newsday.


    Google's Crisis Response unit has published this map showing shelters open to receive displaced Oklahomans.

    0818: Alastair Leithead BBC News, Oklahoma

    reports: Floodlights and heavy lifting equipment have been brought in to clear the heavier debris - rescuers are proceeding with great care but also urgency.

    People look for belongings after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma

    The tornado hit on Monday evening, and before night fell residents of Moore began trying to salvage what belongings they could.

    Vara Szajkowski, BBC News

    tweets this more recent picture from the scene and says: Aftermath of the tornado in Moore. Power lines down everywhere. Search & rescue continuing at Plaza Towers School.

    Power lines down in Moore, Oklahoma

    On Facebook, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says it is "strongly encouraging people to stay away from the storm-damaged areas in Moore as emergency personnel are still in the process of conducting search and rescue operations".

    Kevin Reece, reporter for KHOU-TV (CBS), in Oklahoma

    tweets: Lightning still streaking over Moore OK as searchers continue work at Plaza Towers Elementary. #khou devastation as far as the eye can see

    0840: Brittany Jespersen in Moore, Oklahoma

    tells the BBC: I got the kids out of the house and got away as fast as I could. We headed for my cousin's cellar but the hail and the rain was so bad that we couldn't get there, so we drove away from the storm as far as we could. After it had calmed down we returned to Moore to see what we could do to help, and to see if everyone was OK. My house is still standing but others in the neighbourhood were not so lucky - some are gone.

    Trevor Hughes USAToday journalist, Oklahoma

    tweets: An Okla. State Trooper just told me they're clearing all media from worst of the tornado-hit area. Said curfew might be imposed.

    @Colchesterviews, in the UK

    tweets: Literally broken down in tears as the lady finds her dog, during a live interview on CBS. Pictures from #Oklahoma are beyond belief.

    Alvin Hovasapian, in Oklahoma

    emails: I was about 20km north of Moore when the tornado descended. I have some co-workers who live in the area and we were all just shocked at the magnitude of the destruction. We tried to follow the news coverage to see whether their homes were damaged which was quite a disheartening experience. I've never seen anything like this. It's almost unfathomable how much destruction could occur in such a short amount of time.


    The tornado hit Moore at 14:56 on Monday afternoon (19:56 GMT), according to officials, and wreaked massive damage despite only staying on the ground for 45 minutes. One of the worst-hit buildings was Plaza Towers Elementary School, where the roof was torn off and walls knocked down.


    Ben Holcomb, who describes himself as a "storm chaser", told BBC Radio 4's Today programme said it was "the worst tornado I've ever seen". The storm was around a kilometre wide and was "eating everything in its path... you could just see buildings, houses, grass, everything was just being ripped up".

    Vara Szajkowski, BBC News

    emails this recent picture of power lines down in Oklahoma:

    Power lines down in Oklahoma
    A woman is treated for her injuries at a triage area set up for the injured, after a tornado struck Moore, Oklahoma

    Earlier, some of the injured were treated at makeshift triage centres while others were taken to hospital.

    Louise Court, in London, UK

    tweets: The pictures from #Oklahoma are pretty damn shocking this morning. My thoughts with those who have lost everything, including loved ones.

    Brittany Jespersen in Moore, Oklahoma

    who spoke to the BBC earlier, tweets: Can't sleep feel #guilty that josh & I have a couch to sleep on.


    Monday's tornado came after a powerful storm system in Oklahoma on Sunday caused twisters that killed two people.


    After the devastation, more danger: Oklahoma's KOCO TV station says there is a "moderate risk" of tornadoes in south-east Oklahoma, eastern Arkansas and north Texas on Tuesday.

    David Botti, BBC News

    tweets: Heartbreaking stories at shelter near #Moore. Hearing many people still searching for family. Volunteers are tired but still work #Oklahoma

    Jason France, in Hampshire, UK

    emails: Can't believe the images! Lived in Midwest City (few miles NE of Moore) for a year. I learnt to referee soccer in Moore. Have friends who were devastated by the 1999 tornado so am keenly waiting to see the route this one took. Have friends with OKC Police who will be on the frontline. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone there.


    A group of storm-chasers called Basehunters Chasing has uploaded some extraordinary footage to YouTube, shot from very close to the tornado and showing the levelled houses left in its wake.

    Melanie Harvey, Dorset, UK

    emails: I was born in Oklahoma, 46 years ago. I remember all the warnings and advice given in the event of a tornado. I have had a lifelong terror of them (just watching this has me shaking like a leaf!) This is just devastating... those poor people! Prayers and strength to all those affected!

    0959: The BBC's Vara Szajkowski

    reports from Moore: Many of the roads are blocked off and there are power lines down near the Plaza Towers Elementary School. Abandoned and damaged vehicles are everywhere. The school itself remains closed off as the search and rescue operation continues.


    More from the BBC's Vara Szajkowski: A volunteer with a canine search and rescue group told me his team were getting ready to go in but there is a lot of ground to cover and a lot of people still missing. Fallen trees have left some nearby residential streets largely inaccessible.

    Danielle Dozier Meterologist at KOCO TV station

    tweets: Seeing damage first hand for first time since deadly Moore tornado. Just devastating. #koco pic.twitter.com/FRcfa2QNBZ


    Before nightfall rescuers had begun to pull survivors from the rubble, including here at Moore's hospital complex.

    Rescue workers help free one of the 15 people that were trapped at a medical building at the Moore hospital complex
    Paige Cornwell, in Lincoln, Nebraska,

    tweets: A friend whose house in Moore was damaged said there are still people trapped in buildings. She's worried they won't make it out.

    @MissDanaKirk, in Brooklyn, NY

    tweets: My State. My childhood. Red Earth. Home of Native America. Fight on. Rebuild. Live. Love. My prayers and heart are with you... #Oklahoma


    Pastor Ben Glover of Oakcrest Church of Christ has described the scene as looking "like you took a bulldozer with a mile-wide blade and just levelled it for five miles." His church has sent vans to help people, but he said: "You can't even get to the [destroyed] area because there is so much debris to get through."


    Monday's tornado was ranked as 4 - the second most-powerful category - on the EF scale used for measuring them, according to the National Weather Service.

    Ben Holcomb, who describes himself as a "storm chaser"

    and who spoke with the BBC earlier, tweets to @FruitCarver_L: Very scary. Sad to know people were losing their lives and nothing I could do to save them.

    TWC Meteorologist Daniel Dix

    tweets: Vivid lightning in the distance from here in #Moore OK. Storms slowly lifting N toward tornado-ravaged area.

    1036: The BBC's David Botti

    tweets: PIC: it's an eerie night near #Moore #Oklahoma. All silent but for the wind. Constant lightning flashes above pic.twitter.com/vo94TNnjdo

    Cars in a parking lot under a stormy sky near Moore, Oklahoma

    One of the children whose school was hit has spoken about the experience: "I fell back and then all the dirt started getting in my eyes and on my clothes, that I really got stuck because all the desks were on top of us and the teacher got stuck and so somebody had to help her because the desk was on her leg."

    Journalist for @Coloradoan and @USAToday, Trevor Hughes,

    in Oklahoma, tweets: I'm walking though an entire neighborhood that's been reduced to rubble. #oklahoma


    Ros Atkins will be hosting World Have Your Say on BBC World Service at 10:30 GMT (11:30 BST; 05:30 CDT). If you can help him report the situation in Oklahoma, tweet using #whys or @BBCRosAtkins. The WHYS team will be pulling together everything coming into the BBC.


    One rescue volunteer described the process of getting people out of the rubble. "We were pulling walls off of people, there were people crawling out from everywhere and anywhere. It's basically just a war zone. There were a couple of individuals with lacerations and contusions on their back and head; we had an individual with a spinal injury," Tom Earson told CBS News.


    Nick Miller from BBC Weather explains the science behind weather systems that can produce such powerful tornadoes.


    Pastor Ben Glover, who has been helping people, said: "We've had many people - literally all day long - calling us from all across the US wanting to come and help, and we've been very pleased to see the outpouring of love and support and encouragement. So now we're also in the long-term trying to be a clearing house for the needs of people and more, matching them up with the resources of the people who want to come in and help."

    1101: Zack Scott, took this picture

    saying: All homes and buildings on this main road were destroyed.

    Debris on a main road in Oklahoma
    1106: Zack Scott, also sent the BBC this picture

    saying: This house was one of the few standing #tornado #moore #oklahoma

    House barely standing in Moore, Oklahoma
    1111: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Moore

    reports from Moore: There's lightning in the sky above Moore, flickering on and off every 10 or 20 seconds; at ground level, the only light is from the blue and red flashing lights of emergency vehicles and the bright portable lights with generators at their bases. It is deceptively calm; insects chirrup in the background. Everywhere is covered in a light spray of soggy debris and a film of mud. At the deserted Moore police station cars are spattered with mud.

    1112: Jonny Dymond BBC News, Moore

    Larger concrete structures are still standing - a cinema, a supermarket, reminders of what there was before the tornado struck. But houses, offices and shops have been torn apart by the force of the winds that ripped through here, sturdy telephone poles snapped at their bases, street signs sent flying. And most disconcerting - though unsurprising - is the complete absence of any residents.

    1117: Matthew Porter, sent the BBC a picture

    from Moore at the intersection of Telephone Road and 4th Street.

    Destruction on a main road in Moore, Oklahoma

    The US National Weather Service in Normal, Oklahoma, at 04:46 local time: "Lightning will be the largest hazard for Rescue and Recovery operations in Moore as this line of storms continues to slowly creep northward this morning. Storms will likely stay sub-severe with heavy rain, gusty winds, and possibly some small hail."

    Jerry in Edmond, Oklahoma

    emails: We live in Edmond, about 30 miles north of this. I was working near the airport, about four miles from where the tornado crossed the river and into Moore. In about 10 minutes the skies just erupted. I called my wife and told her to pick up the children at school. The next thing I know I'm getting pounded by golf ball-sized hail against my truck and then the sirens started for the tornado warning. It was terrifying.

    Jerry Edmond, Oklahoma

    continues: It was due south of me. The hail subsided and as I got out of my truck and looked towards the south, it was total darkness. I heard what I thought was a constant rumbling of thunder towards the tornado. It was the sound of the tornado. A giant WHHHRRRRR and gnashing of metal, debris, and concrete as it ripped across the town of Moore. I'll never forget that sound. Needless to say I made it home and held onto my children and wife. A terrible day.

    Pope Francis

    tweets: I am close to the families of all who died in the Oklahoma tornado, especially those who lost young children. Join me in praying for them.

    Sam Riojas Oklahoma

    spoke to the BBC: My house was just decimated. It is still standing - it's one of few in the path of the storm that still is. The tornado blew out all the windows and tore up part of the roof. Right across the street many of the homes are completely levelled. I tried to get into my home but I haven't been allowed in. I'm just stuck. I can't go anywhere.

    Red Cross Oklahoma

    tweets a picture of devastated homes in Moore, and a plea: Homes in Moore. Just a few of many. You can help these families by donating at redcross.org #okwx #moore http://t.co/12xfUAgvcT

    Devastated homes in Moore, Oklahoma

    President Obama is to make a statement on Oklahoma at 10:00 EDT (15:00 BST; 09:00 CDT).

    Queen Elizabeth II

    tweets: "Our deepest sympathies go out to all those whose lives have been affected, as well as the American people' #Oklahoma #tornado"

    @DanceFanaticDWM, in Oklahoma

    tweets: I'm okay, I'm in Tulsa but Moore was my hometown... I have friends and people I know there... some of the people I know died.


    Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) Director Craig Fugate is heading to Oklahoma on Tuesday to ensure that federal resources are being properly deployed, the Associated Press reports.

    Ollie, an Oklahoman in London, UK

    emails: I can't believe what's happened, I am trying so hard to get back to my friends and family. But what annoys me is [that] in the UK people think: "Oh you get them all the time, why don't you build underground shelters." There is not always the money and the tornado warnings are around three to four minutes at best.

    1220: Reince Priebus Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman

    says: "Our broken hearts go out to the families mourning the loss of their loved ones in Oklahoma. I cannot fathom the pain of parents who lost children when the tornado ripped through their school. We're praying for them, and we pray for the first responders, volunteers, and neighbours still working to find the missing and help the injured."

    Screen grab from Oklahoman.com

    With dawn breaking over the devastation in Moore, state newspaper the Oklahoman has given its verdict on the tornado, describing it as worse than the killer twister of 1999.


    tweets: More severe weather lined up for #Oklahoma after devastating #tornado... areas on Thunderstorm Watch.


    Want to know how the Oklahoma tornado was formed? Nick Miller from BBC Weather explains all in this video and science reporter Jason Palmer looks at the famed "Tornado Alley".


    The charity Save the Children says it has launched an emergency response to the tornado in Oklahoma and will be distributing supplies to the families affected. Other organisations such as the American Red Cross and the North Carolina-based agency Samaritan's Purse are also providing disaster relief.

    Chelsey Kraft, in Oklahoma

    tweets: Just saw the tornado damage after leaving from volunteering at the First Baptist Church in Moore. It's unreal. Saying extra prayers right now.


    The news agency Reuters is now citing hospital sources as saying that 240 people have been injured, with at least 60 of them children.

    Alastair Leithead BBC News, Oklahoma

    tweets: Daylight in #Moore revealing some terrible damage. This is the bowling alley

    Tornado damage at a bowling alley in Moore, Oklahoma
    Valory Houston, in Oklahoma City

    emails: Yesterday I left a comment stating that it's not a matter of if a tornado will come close to where you live but when... A matter of hours after I posted that the May 20 tornado almost took out my house. I saw a tornado barrel toward my home. My elementary school was levelled. To put this simply me and my little sister dodged a bullet.

    Journalist Emily Turner

    tweets: This is what social media is about - community. Facebook group reunites items lost in #oklahoma #tornado with owners http://on.fb.me/10iC24x

    Journalist for @Coloradoan and @USAToday, Trevor Hughes

    tweets: I just watched a beagle walking through the wreckage of the Moore tornado, apparently looking for a home that no longer exists. #oklahoma

    BBC News website reader

    texts: Thoughts and prayers to the folks suffering in ok


    Thank you for following the BBC's live coverage of the relief effort in Oklahoma, where a giant tornado has ripped through a suburb of Oklahoma City. More than 90 people are feared dead, including at least 20 children whose school was destroyed. Rescuers are still searching for survivors.


    President Obama is to make a statement on the situation in about an hour and three quarters: We'll be bringing you the latest from that, as well as other breaking news lines, pictures and links to the best articles on the twister's aftermath.


    Do send us your thoughts via text, email or social media - we'll publish what we can on this page.


    How much warning did the people of Oklahoma City get before the tornado hit their homes and schools? Could some of the devastation have been prevented? Read all the details in this piece.

    Dr Suzanne Gray Senior Lecturer in Weather Systems, University of Reading

    says: Tornados are too small scale for current climate models to simulate, so it is not possible to say very much about how strength and occurrence might alter under climate change. But climate change means warmer temperatures and more moisture and that is providing more energy for the types of storms that produce tornadoes in a warmer climate.

    Kfor news channel in Oklahoma

    tweets: 101 people found alive overnight in the rubble in Moore. #oktornado #okwx #oklahoma

    Paul P Burns, in Lancashire, UK

    emails: I am an Honorary Citizen of the State of Oklahoma and was there in 1999 when the F5 tornado landed in this very area... it seems awful history repeating itself.


    Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of the Oklahoma tornado tragedy during Mass in the Vatican this morning. More details here via Vatican Radio.

    Reporter for @NightcapNews, Doug Magditch

    in Oklahoma, tweets: Bad lightning in Oklahoma. Have to shut down the truck for a bit.

    Dr Steven Godby, an expert in natural hazards at Nottingham Trent University,

    tells the BBC: "Aside from the deaths and injuries, experts in the United States are already suggesting that the losses from Monday's tornado may approach that of the Joplin tornado of 22 May 2011, which is the costliest tornado on record at $2.8 billion - that storm claimed 158 lives."


    Mike Byrne sent in this picture from the back of his friend Sam Riojas' house in Oklahoma. We quoted Sam earlier who said the tornado blew out all the windows and tore up part of the roof.

    Sam Riojas' house in Oklahoma

    People in Oklahoma are using a Facebook group to share information about pets lost and found in the aftermath of the storm.

    Piers Morgan

    tweets: There were 1,037 tornadoes in America in 2012 - killing a total of 70 people. This one #Oklahoma tornado has killed at least 91.


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) has given more details about the financial help it will be providing to those affected by the devastation. It said in a statement the government assistance would include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as loans to cover uninsured property losses.


    A glimmer of good news: Medical officials in Oklahoma have revised down the number of bodies recovered from the rubble in Oklahoma - from 51 to 24. But Amy Elliott, chief administrative officer at the Oklahoma City Medical Examiner's Office, cautions more bodies could yet be recovered from the rubble.

    John Hart Oklahoma Storm Prediction Centre

    says: There is really no way to know exactly where such a horrible thing will happen days ahead of the time... If you didn't have anywhere where you could get out of the storm, it was so intense there was no way to survive it.

    Jason Hirschfeld

    tweets: Fresh air still isn't enough to neutralize the overwhelming stench of churned soil and splintered wood. #Oklahoma

    María García

    tweets: My family is only 30 minutes from Moore but I'm so happy they're safe and sound #oklahoma

    1432: Betsy Randolph Oklahoma Highway Patrol

    has been releasing more information on the number of people reportedly found alive. "We believe about 101 people were found alive in cellars and different places throughout the city," she says. "We hope before the end of today that we'll have even more positive news come from all of this bad."

    1435: Alastair Leithead BBC News, Oklahoma

    This photo gives some idea about the scale of damage caused by the twister.

    Tornado damage in Oklahoma, 21 May 2013

    Fore more info on the scale of the damage, have a look at our interactive map with photos and video detailing the worst-affected areas.

    Sam Davis

    tweets: Just drove through Moore. I cannot describe what it's like. I'm absolutely broken hearted.

    Ronnie Boadu

    tweets: I claim Moore, OK as my home and even more importantly I claim the spirit and values of #Oklahoma. #staystrongMoore #staystrongOklahoma


    Thank you for following the BBC's live coverage of the relief effort in the southern United States, where a huge tornado has torn apart through entire neighbourhoods, devastating homes, schools and a hospital in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore.


    Officials now say they have recovered the bodies of 24 people, several of them children. An earlier announcement put the number at more than 50. But rescue workers have said the death toll could rise as they scour the rubble for survivors.

    Republican member of the United States House of Representatives Patrick Meehan

    tweets: Devastating images coming out of #Oklahoma. Join me in praying for victims. Horrible to think of the incredible loss these folks are facing.

    United States Senator for North Dakota Heidi Heitkamp

    tweets: My thoughts and prayers are with everyone in #Oklahoma. We will do all we can to support your recovery.


    We'll bring you the statement of President Obama imminently. Do send us your thoughts via text, email or social media using the contact details (on the right of this page, if you're following via a PC, or using the Contribute tab if you're following on a mobile). We'll publish what we can here.


    As we wait for Mr Obama's address, here's another glimmer of good news from the rubble: People in Oklahoma City are searching for pets that were lost in the devastation of the tornado. This dog was found safe and picked up by the Safe Haven Animal Rescue team, who are trying to reunite animals with their owners on this Facebook page.

    Dog found safe in Oklahoma tornado aftermath

    The president says his prayers are with the people of Oklahoma, with teachers who did their utmost to shelter their pupils when the tornado struck, and the neighbours and first responders who worked overnight in the early stages of the relief effort. If you're not seeing his address live, refresh your browser.


    "The people of Moore should know their country will remain on the ground, there for them, beside them, for as long as it takes," says Mr Obama.


    "There are empty spaces that used to be bed rooms and living rooms and classrooms... We are going to have to refill those spaces with love," adds the president.

    Katie Hazelwood, in Oklahoma

    tweets: Our family is so sad to hear about our dear friend and her newborn baby passing away yesterday. Please pray for Megan's family.

    Helen Louise Compton, on Facebook

    writes a post on the BBC News page: Dreadful... just dreadful. Thoughts to those who lost their lives, those injured and everyone caught up in this devastation.


    For a clearer idea of the level of devastation, have a look at these before-and-after pictures of the worst-hit areas.


    For those directly affected by the tornado, it's worth noting that as well as promising federal help, Mr Obama said relief teams from nearby states would be taking part in the clear-up and that the University of Oklahoma would be providing accommodation for displaced families.

    US Capitol

    tweets: Capitol flag at half-staff in honor of the victims of the #Oklahoma tornado

    Jill Kettles

    tweets: Think out side the box for victims of OK: socks, underwear, dry shampoo, deodorant, even old cell phones that they can refurb! #Oklahoma


    One concern for rescue workers is the fact that further tornado warnings remain in place for the region known as Tornado Alley. The National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Prediction Centre in Norman, Oklahoma, is forecasting the development of tornadoes - bringing large hail and damaging winds - in parts of the southern US. Areas likely to be affected include north west Louisiana, south east Oklahoma and north east Texas.

    1556: Vara Szajkowski BBC News

    has just sent in this photograph from the scene in Oklahoma. She says: "The rain has stopped for now here in Moore but so many roads are closed the traffic is absolutely log-jammed."

    Scene showing road closed in Oklahoma
    1600: BBC producer Richard Fenton-Smith

    at the scene has sent in this image which demonstrates the force of storms.

    Twisted lamp post downed by the Oklahoma tornado, 21 May 2013
    1603: Becky Nelson, one of those involved in the rescue effort,

    says children may have drowned after becoming trapped inside a primary school during the storm. She said they may have been trapped as a roof above them collapsed, causing pipes to burst.

    Kaori in Bhopal

    emails: "I hope that everyone who has been affected by this will be all right. I pray for all of them."

    Patrick Delaney

    tweets: Heartbreak for my fellow Midwesterners, but if I know anything about them, there's a whole region of people on their way to help. #Oklahoma


    This just in: Nine of the 24 people so far confirmed to have died were children, Reuters news agency quotes a spokesman for the Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner as saying.

    Broghan Grider, in Oklahoma

    tweets: This is our home y'all. We watched it get built it up over this past decade and we'll do it again.

    Brittany Jean Embree, in Oklahoma

    tweets: EVERYONE: take donations to earlywhine elementary school! Water, snack foods, toiletries, diapers, wipes, anything would be great!

    New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

    tweets: Our thoughts& prayers are with the people of #Oklahoma. As always, we will stand by the victims of the devastation as they recover& rebuild.


    "It looks like a war zone" - read first-hand accounts from the eye of the storm as Oklahoma tornado survivors tell their stories.


    Tough listening, this. An emotional Betsy Randolph of Oklahoma Highway Patrol talks to the BBC's World at One: "It's heartbreaking... but we live in Tornado Alley. We accept that."

    1638: BBC producer Regan Morris

    has sent in this photo. She says: "Driving through Moore next to the destroyed school. Natural gas leak thick in the air."

    Driving through Moore next to the destroyed school.

    And here's a shot Regan Morris took showing the devastation a street away from Plaza Towers Elementary school:

    Devastation a street away from Plaza Towers Elementary school, Moore, Oklahoma 21 May 2013
    Brent Murray

    tweets: These images that continue to come in look like a bomb went off. #Oklahoma #tornado


    You can catch the latest info on the search for tornado survivors on the BBC World Service's news podcast. ‏


    An update on tornado casualties: Officials at three local hospitals say they have treated more than 200 people, including nearly 70 children. Many of the patients have already been discharged.

    Leah Dees

    tweets: I thought maybe I'd wake up and this would all have been a dream. But it's real, and now the shock is gone. Tears just keep flowing. #Moore

    Zach Martini

    tweets: Sports and politics tear us apart, and a giant tornado pulls us together. #oklahoma


    Ben Glover, a minister at Oklahoma's Oakcrest Church of Christ, says a large part of his work since the tornado passed has involved grief counselling, and that many tornado survivors he has been helping have the look of "deer in the headlights".


    Rev Glover tells the BBC survivors are "bewildered, stunned... People weren't getting it and they didn't know if their homes were destroyed, or if loved ones were hurt, or if children had been tragically taken".

    1710: Robby Perry at the site of Plaza Towers Elementary School

    took this photo of a firefighter surveying the scene. Perry, who lives a mile away, had gone to check in on an elderly family who live on the other side of the school.

    Firefighter at the site of Plaza Towers Elementary School in Oklahoma
    AFP Politics and Congress correspondent Michael Mathes

    tweets: A 30-second moment of silence was just held on US Senate floor for victims of the #Oklahoma tornado.


    Here's a link to a National Weather Service forecast map that shows a cluster of storms, some severe, expected to hit the Oklahoma City metro area by 13:00 local time. "Search and rescue personnel should monitor the situation closely and be prepared to take action if severe weather approaches."

    MetroShoe Warehouse

    tweets: We are set up at The First Baptist Church in Moore.. We have shoe donations and socks to give. Kids size infant 4 and up! #prayforoklahoma


    "I think I'm ready to move," Moore resident Cecilia Lambert tells The Oklahoman. She and her family have found themselves in the path of tornadoes three times - the previous two being in 1999 and 2003.

    @MayaDonatella, in Oklahoma

    tweets: There are people walking down the street screaming and sobbing.


    Were the people of Oklahoma victims of climate change, or just terrible weather? Time magazine's Ecocentric blog offers this assessment.

    Michael Morales

    tweets: Its so quiet in the City of Moore


    Kevin Durant seems to have a heart as big as his wallet - the superstar basketball player with the NBA team Oklahoma City Thunder has just pledged $1m to the tornado disaster relief fund, reports KOCO-5 TV station.


    The Red Cross in Oklahoma City has posted this picture of the volunteers who have been arriving spontaneously at its office.

    Volunteers at Red Cross office, Oklahoma City
    Luke Stanczyk

    tweets: I love Kevin Durant. Dude donates 1mil to the Red Cross for OKC tornado relief and he didn't even announce it. Red Cross did.


    Thanks for following the latest developments from Oklahoma with the BBC. To recap: Emergency workers are continuing to search for survivors of the gigantic tornado that tore through an Oklahoma City suburb yesterday.


    In Moore, the worst-hit area, entire neighbourhoods were flattened by winds of up to 200mph (320km/h). At least 24 people died, including nine children, officials say, although they warn that death-toll could rise as the rescue operation continues.


    We're expecting Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin to give an update on the relief effort shortly: we hope to bring you her televised press conference on this page as and when it happens.


    Governor Fallin describes the tornado as one of the most horrific storms the area has ever faced, but she praises the resilience of the local people in getting through the heart-breaking experience - especially the loss of children.


    Gov Fallin has taken an aerial tour over the 20-mile long strip of devastation torn by the tornado. She says that in some neighbourhoods all that remain are "sticks and bricks". "You can't tell where streets were - the signs are just gone," she adds.


    Gov Fallin says she does not have firm numbers on the number of those killed as bodies may have been taken directly to funeral homes rather than local hospitals. She says 237 injuries have been recorded.


    She says 38,000 in the area remain without power, 20,000 of those in Moore and Oklahoma City.


    Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate tells people in the area to let friends know they are OK, so authorities know for whom they are looking.


    For those directly affected by the storm, to apply for disaster assistance individuals and business owners are advised to call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or go online at www.disasterassistance.gov.


    Fire officials say they have reached most affected areas and plan to have scoured through every damaged piece of property "three times" by nightfall.


    Those not involved in the search-and-rescue effort are asked to stay away from the area. "If you don't have a reason to be in the affected area, please avoid it and let us do our work."


    An emotional Glenn Lewis, the mayor of Moore, offers his thanks for all the assistance the city has received.


    Oklahoma Mayor Mick Cornett says the local water system is nearly back at full operation levels, but recommends people to be restrained in their water usage for the next few hours.


    Twenty of the 24 deaths reported so far have been in Moore, officials say. A few people are still missing in Moore.


    Oklahoma Fire Chief Keith Bryant says his staff are currently searching registered storm shelters to check for people who may have become trapped taking refuge during the storm.


    Shelters are being made available both for people and pets who have been displaced by the storms, officials say: Health vans are offering tetanus jabs to those who require them.


    The Moore Public Schools administration is reviewing its safety procedures in the aftermath of last night's storms, says its outgoing superintendent, Susan Pierce.


    National Weather Service spokesman Rick Smith says the tornado had estimated speeds of around 190mph and left a 17-mile long track. He adds that many structures were "wiped clean to the foundation".

    1917: Albert Ashwood Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management

    said the two schools hit by the tornado did not have safe rooms. More than 100 schools had been provided with state-funded safe rooms, he added, but the two affected were not among them.

    1918: Moore Fire Chief Gary Bird

    says no survivors have been found at the hard-hit Plaza Towers Elementary school in the last 12 hours, but adds that rescue workers won't stop hunting until they have searched the wreckage "down to the ground".


    As the presser concludes, a quick summary: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin said some areas were so badly hit by the tornado the authorities were struggling to identify individual streets.


    The twister cut a path up to two miles wide (3.2km) and 17 miles (27km) long, tearing apart houses and schools - some almost to their foundations, officials say. Twenty four deaths have been confirmed, nine of them children, and 20 from the worst-hit city of Moore.

    Jonny Dymond BBC News, Moore
    Belongings among the ruins after a tornado in Moore

    sent this photograph of the scene in Oklahoma. He says: Scraps of lost lives in Moore amongst the devastation. Staggering to see, incredibly sad.

    United States Senator for Georgia Johnny Isakson

    tweets: I am very saddened by the devastating news that continues to come out of Oklahoma. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected.

    Emily Beaty

    tweets: Today I realize how many people I work with that are from Moore...today I realize how many people I work with that are now homeless #nowords

    Adam Graham

    tweets: I love my town we are one large family! #PrayforMoore #Moore

    Robt John

    tweets: I seriously doubt #Oklahoma Gov Fallin has had any sleep for the last few days...tough woman.

    1937: BBC producer Vara Szajkowski in Moore

    says there's currently appalling weather in the area, with torrential rain and thunder storms.

    Cole Studebaker

    tweets: Don't come to Moore yet, no one is allowed in for clean up

    Jillian Harris

    tweets: After a night of bad dreams, I can't fathom how Oklahoma is coping & the thought of losing the ones I cherish the most, so sorry #Oklahoma


    We're going to wrap up our minute-by-minute coverage of the ongoing relief effort in Oklahoma for now, but to recap on the main ponts: A massive tornado ripped through Oklahoma City's suburbs on Monday, flattening neighbourhoods with winds of up to 200mph.


    Officials say at least 24 people died, 20 in Moore, nine of whom were children; Plaza Towers, a primary school, was among the places worst-hit.


    Early higher death-tolls have been put down to double-counting, but officials warn the final toll could rise as some bodies may have been taken to funeral homes.


    Local hospitals have treated some 237 people for injuries, including nearly 70 children - most of whom have now been discharged, officials say. Those in need of aid have been asked to call (800) 621-FEMA. Donations can be made to the Red Cross.


    Emergency workers scoured the affected area overnight for survivors, and although thunderstorms have hampered Tuesday's relief effort, officials say more than 100 survivors have been pulled from the debris.


    President Obama has declared the incident a major disaster, saying the full scale of human and economic loss would not be known for some time. He pledged federal assistance to rebuild devastated areas. The town of Moore "needs to get everything it needs right away", he said.

    Lasea Been

    tweets: I am so thankful my family in Oklahoma is safe, but words cannot express the hurt i feel for those who have lost loved ones. #prayforOK


    Thanks for following developments from Oklahoma with us - and for all your texts, emails and tweets. You can keep up to speed with all the latest news via this page on the BBC News website.


Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.